Music Review: DELIVERANCE – The Subversive Kind

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deliverance - the subversive kindDELIVERANCE
The Subversive Kind
Roxx Records / 3 Frogz Records

So, it looks like I’m going to have to do a retraction on my review of Hear What I Say!, in which I mentioned that Jimmy P. Brown II declared it the final Deliverance album. This wasn’t hearsay (no pun intended); I listened to him say it on the As The Story Grows podcast back in 2015. I was fine with Hear What I Say! being the final chapter in the Deliverance saga — Jimmy had other musical projects, not to mention a family to focus on. But, it looks like the fans have once again convinced him to come out of retirement and record a new Deliverance album. Not that I’m complaining, mind you…it’s just that they ruined a perfectly good review.

I kid, I kid. Now, on to the album review…

For months leading up to the release of The Subversive Kind, the hype was that this was a return to the speed metal days. This was going to be the heaviest “D” album evar!!1! Yeah, okay. I wasn’t going to buy into anything until I had the album and was listening to it to make that kind of proclamation. Then those who got their pre-releases because they contributed to the funding were responding very enthusiastically, and my anticipation grew a bit. Then the lyric video for “The Black Hand” was released, and suddenly I’m wishing that the official release date wasn’t over a month away for me to download the pre-release I purchased from Amazon. Finally, the day has arrived, and I’ve been listening to it several times now. Was that wait worth the hype?


First thing to point out — besides the album cover being rather awesome-looking, there — is that the overall length of the album is only 31 minutes long. Which may sound like we’ve been short-changed, but us old-school MetalHeads (TM) know that this is actually a bit longer than the standard Slayer album in the 1980s. We knew how to cram an hour’s worth of METAL into half-an-hour back then, let me tell you.

It’s the same here with The Subversive Kind: From the opening track “Bring ‘Em Down”, we’re welcomed with a tight and heavy riff that breaks into a fast-paced bridge and an infectious solo. And that is what we get with the entirety of the album — heavy, tight riffs and hooks, thrash rhythms making for some of the tastiest Deliverance cuts that recall the heavier bits from Here What I Say!.

The question still remains, though: Is The Subversive Kind a return to the classic thrash and speed metal days of the first three releases? Well, no. Not really. The thing to remember about Deliverance releases is that each album has their own distinct personality; the same goes with The Subversive Kind. It sticks to the speed and thrash, but infuses the songs with a modern take that Jimmy is really good with. Each song has its own distinct awesomeness to them, and given the top-notch production, makes this a good, solid release front-to-back.

Of course, I bought my copy as a download from Amazon. There are also the requisite CD and limited edition vinyl releases for you physical media types. Regardless of your preference, The Subversive Kind is another fantastic METAL release from Deliverance. I recommend you check it out if for some reason you haven’t as of yet.


Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Southern Extremities

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southern extremitiesVARIOUS ARTISTS
Southern Extremities: Brasilian Metal Compilation
Rowe Productions

Steve Rowe’s Rowe Productions label, over the years, has done much to help expose metal bands and artists from around the entire globe, through the release of the compilations that featured country and continental themes with the bands and artists chosen for them. It’s a pity that these compilations stopped after just a handful of them, as it would have been nifty to have every country and continent eventually represented on the label releases. As it stands, the last of these compilation series that Rowe Productions has released seems to be this particular one, Southern Extremities.

Focusing on the country of Brazil (which is part of the South American continent, in case you’re not up on your geography), this comp features four cuts each from three bands: Vollig Heilig (“Running Time”, “Looking For The Light”, “Don’t Stop The Music”, and “Revenge”, from their Looking For The Light release), Stauros (“Seaquake”, “The First Mile”, “Vital Blood” and “Dance Of The Seeds” from their Seaquake release), and Light Hammer (“Holy Wings”, “The Bright You’ll Know”, “Wake Up” and “Why Were You Born?”, from the Holy Wings demo). The band Vollig Heilig, I am pedantically obligated to point out, changed their name to Belica, and re-released Looking For The Light under that name a year after the original release. There, that’s something you know, now. And you can’t un-know it. Maniacal laughter.

On the plus side, Southern Extremities has the entirety of Light Hammer’s ultra-rare Holy Wings demo, albeit the tracks being out-of-sequence on here. Plus, the metal featured on here is pretty good, sticking with the general power metal style on each of the three entries on the band list. Which kind of brings me to my primary gripe about this compilation: Why just stick to power metal? With the previous compilations, there was a smorgasbord–a metaphorical cornucopia, if you will–of various metal styles, not just one. I know for a fact that Brazil (not to mention the entirety of South America in general) is one of the most fertile breeding grounds of all kinds of metal genres going — death metal, black metal, punk, hardcore, industrial…why just power metal? I feel a great opportunity to school us American metalheads on Brazilian metal beyond just Sepultura was sorely missed.

Personally, the reason I hold on to this compilation is because of the Light Hammer demo’s inclusion. As a cross-section of the Brazilian metal scene, you would do better by seeking out the Kingdom Of Metal Land compilations for a better variety.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hard And Heavy From Down Under

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hard and heavy from down underVARIOUS ARTISTS
Hard And Heavy From Down Under
Rugged Records / Rowe Productions

So, since I finished up the reviews of the remaining Australian Metal Compilation releases, I felt it was appropriate to do a review of the American release that featured cuts from Australian metal bands, Hard And Heavy From Down Under. I’ve only seen this CD once, at a small family owned Christian bookstore tucked away inside one of the malls in Omaha, Nebraska back in the mid-1990s, within their paltry “Rock” section of the music wall. Hardly any information as to the history behind this release can be found, although there are entries on the standard music archive sites that I use for research.

Hard And Heavy From Down Under was essentially a collaboration between Rowe Productions, which released the original Australian Metal Compilations, and Rugged Records, which started up as a label in the early to mid-1990s as a place for old 80s metal bands to retire to, originally. Then it turned into yet another alternative type label, but that’s for a different rant. Anyway, from what I could gather, this was released here in America as an easier way for us Yank metalheads to check out the bands on the Rowe Production label from Australia, without paying exhuberant shipping prices.

The compilation starts with a cut from Mortification, “Peace In The Galaxy”, which first appeared on the EnVision EvAngeline release. Interesting way to kick things off. Next is two cuts from the band Cry Mercy, “Time To Go” and “D. A. M.”, both from their self-titled release. Then, it’s some death metal goodness from Metanoia — “Acute Obliteration” and “Dimensions Of Life” — both from the In Darkness Or In Light release. Then it’s the three-part Plague suite by Screams Of Chaos (“Fighting For Breath”, “The New World” and “Destroy The Plague”), which was lifted from the second Australian Metal Compilation release, Raise The Dead. But, that’s not all this compilation lifted from that release, as there are two cuts from Embodiment that were found only on the Raise The Dead compilation (“Loophole”, “Incorporate Body”). And we’re not done pilfering from the Australian Metal Compilation series, as these are followed by a couple of cuts from the hardcore band Callous that appeared on the third Australian Metal Compilation (“Hate” and “The Mind That Rots”), and then two cuts from Ethereal Scourge that appeared on the second Australian Metal Compilation (“Death Of Hades” and “Tombthroat”).

Back in the day, when I first encountered this CD, I held off purchasing it because, save for the two Cry Mercy cuts, I already had all the songs on here. And even though I didn’t have the two Cry Mercy songs, I did have one, “Shut Up And Listen”, from the first Australian Metal Compilation. I was good. Even now, I just picked it up as a curiosity. To me, this wasn’t that big of a deal, as I mentioned, I already had everything this sampler featured. But, if you’re not really up on the global Metal community, here’s a good crosscut of what used to be on the Rowe Productions label back in the day. Worth a look, if you can find one at a good discounted price somewhere.

Music Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed


australian metal compilation - godspeedVARIOUS ARTISTS
Australian Metal Compilation: Godspeed
Rowe Productions

Back in 1994, Steve Rowe — the founder of the band Mortification — started up his own indie label named Rowe Productions, as a means to help promote the underground Christian metal bands, not only in Australia, but all over the world. As such, the first release on the fledgling label was a rather ambitious compilation of Australian metal bands called Godspeed.

I purchased my copy back in 1997, at a much-missed record shop that specialized in Christian metal. I figured it was time to get about doing a proper review for this one, as I’ve already reviewed the second in the compilation series. Here goes, then…

Cry Mercy – “Shut Up And Listen”
Decent groove metal tune, good hook; this one seems slightly different than the version that appeared on their self-titled release…

Mortification – “Time Crusaders”
This is the studio version of the song that originally first appeared on the Live Planetarium release. This is the first time the studio version showed up, as it wasn’t included on the Blood World release, like “Symbiosis” did, for some reason. Anyway, good cut regardless…

Nu Humans – “Shattered”
Decent heavy metal cut, good riff, bit tinny on the production, but listenable…

Discarnated – “William Melancholy”
Melodic death metal with a pretty good groove and some doomy bits hither an yon, good cut…

Doxology – “Fight”
Melodic heavy metal with a good riff and decent, if muddled, production…

Deracination – “Fourth Dimension”
Rather good straight-forward death metal tune, from their four-song demo that came out after the full-length. You know, it’s really high time that and the four-song demo get the remaster/re-release treatment. But, I digress…

Harbinger – “The End Is Near”
good NWOBHM riff going, builds up to a rather good straight heavy metal cut…

Krioni – “Black”
Melodic metal cut, female vocals, bit of a poppish veneer to it. Catchy hooks, not too bad for what it is…

Screams Of Chaos – “Eyes Of Chaos”
Interesting industrial cover of the Light Force song. This was my first exposure to Screams Of Chaos, by the way, one of the better finds to grace my collection…

Beheadoth – “Mine Heart Doth Beseech Thee (O Master)”
This cut is actually an early incarnation of the better-known Black Metal project Horde. This song is in keeping with the blistering, face melting second wave Black Metal sound, and is one of the best cuts on this compilation…

Rockin’ Rabbies – “Be Alert”
Representing the quirky hardcore punk genre is Rockin’ Rabbies. The sound is befitting the name, really, as it’s straight forward and snotty…

Embodyment – “Dishallowent Grounds”
Not to be confused with the American post-hardcore band Embodyment, this Australian Embodyment (they would go on to change the “y” to an “i” later) features a doomy death metal cut that is pretty good…

Justice – “Proven Infallible”
Straight-forward hard rock cut, good hook and riff going, but rather bland in the execution…

Metanoia – “Ripped In Two”
Really good Death Metal cut, originally from the Screaming Fetus demo; this also was my first exposure to this great Death Metal band, who fortunately didn’t just release one full-length like Deracination and Discarnated did…

Ignite – “Sanctuary”
Now, this is a good doom metal cut, with a raw and heavy groove and baritone vocals…

Thrash Puppies – “Fastest Song In The World”
Crossover thrash, again with the interesting name choices. This one is decent, if a little standard, if you get what I’m saying, here…

Rosanna’s Raiders – “Mr. Magic”
And ending the compilation with something of a wet splat is this early cut from Rosanna’s Raiders, which is an odd addition to the collection, as the band was more commercial rock than actual metal, per se. Regardless, kind of a weak cut to go out on…

So, here we are. For a compilation, it’s a pretty decent collection, running a good portion of the Metal spectrum with the styles and genres represented on here. For the most part, there’s nothing too bad with the production quality with each song, as I think Steve just took the songs directly from the demos and didn’t do much tweaking. But, I could be wrong about that. Overall, the Godspeed collection is something to get for the fact that there are some good rare cuts on here, including the first instance of Mortification’s “Time Crusaders” studio cut, with only a couple of cuts I’d skip over.

Music Review: TRUE STRENGTH – The Cross Will Always Prevail

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true strength the cross will always prevailTRUE STRENGTH
The Cross Will Always Prevail

When I first came across the band True Strength, I didn’t know much about them. I just noticed this debut release of theirs — The Cross Will Always Prevail — mentioned on one of the sites I check out sometimes to keep up with current releases. I presumed by the style of the album artwork and the classic metal sound of the sample clips I previewed that this was one of those long-lost obscure classic metal nuggets from the 1970s that finally got some re-release digital love. That’s why I bought The Cross Will Always Prevail.

Doing a bit more research on True Strength, I’ve come to find that, contrary to my assumptions, they’re a project that isn’t an old 70s outfit, but was formed in 2012 as a ministry-focused metal band that, among other things, dedicates all of their music sales to charities.

You could, however, forgive me for my original assumptions, because the kind of metal True Strength plays is a retro style throwback to the NWOBHM from the 70s and early 80s. After the brief, 38-second intro “Exorcism”, we get the title track “The Cross Will Always Prevail”, which features a classic metal riff and hook, melodic with a good guitar solo. “Christian Battle Cry” shows a bit more on the technical side, anchored with a nice galloping riff and another rather good solo; “Under The Scimitar” is more mid-paced with another good classic metal riff and hook; “Stave The Fires Of Moloch” is a 10-plus minute epic-length song that ventures into doom territory at times; “Michael The Archangel” is probably the heaviest song on this album, with an almost speed metal riff going on; “When We Meet At Armageddon” is a more straight-forward metal song, but seems to have a weaker chorus; and finally, “Key To The Abyss” ends the album with a good metal riff and hook to send you on your way. Whatever that means, it just popped in my head just now.

Unlike your standard high-pitched METAAAAAAAAL! vocals you would expect with metal like this, the vocals actually sound like Dennis DeYoung from Styx in the delivery, which is different but actually works in the music’s favor. There are some points, though, where the vocals get a bit sloppy, especially on “Stave The Fires Of Moloch”, which I notated while listening to this, that they sound more like the guy from Light Force back in the day. The production is a bit on the thin side, but for an independent released project, it’s pretty good, really. You get the sense that The Cross Will Always Prevail would sound fantastic on vinyl.

This was originally released as a digital only release, but has been picked up for distribution through Roxx Productions, so it’s in good hands. I picked my copy up on Amazon (naturally); overall, The Cross Will Always Prevail is very much worth a look for you old Righteous Rockers out there.

Music Review: ADVOCATE – Exigency

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Pentecost Records

Advocate was a band from Denver, Colorado. They formed in 1990 and released a demo called Exigency in 1992, then apparently split up in 1995. And that is the extent of the information that I was able to glean from the internet about this particular group. Oh, and their style is listed as “thrash metal”, though I may have a bit to say about that. But, I’ve done reviews on less information before, so let’s get to this, shall we?

First, that cover art. I’ve seen worse, really. But, the album art for this release does rank up there as far as not being representative of the music itself. It’s no pink unicorn on a white backdrop, mind you, but still it has more of an “illustration for vacation bible school” vibe going on. But anyway, the music. Remember in the previous paragraph where I mentioned that Advocate was listed as “thrash”? I disagree. The music is really more heavy metal that leans towards thrash at times, much like Metal Church. There’s some really good riffs and solos going on here, as well as some good solid musicianship with the crafting of the songs, showing a kind of talent that keeps things from getting stale. The big issue I have with the music, though, are the vocals. They’re…passable. Kind of in need of more polish in several instances, and for whatever reason the vocals are way up in the mix, dominating the other instruments into a slightly muffled background position. That’s rather distracting.

Overall, Exigency is a six-song demo that has some rather good ideas going with the music, but it’s hampered by a sub-par vocal mix. Regardless, had they kept at it, they could have really had something going. I have no idea what caused them to break up, but this one evidence of their existence is still out there. Worth a bit of a look if you happen to run into it.

Music Review: CONSECRATOR – Image Of Deception

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consecrator - image of deceptionCONSECRATOR
Image Of Deception
Bombworks Records

Consecrator is (was?) a thrash metal band that was formed in Texas in 1989, released a couple of demos, then broke up in 1993. Then, if the Metal Archives site is to be believed, the group reformed in 2004, which coincided with the release of this particular compilation collecting their two demos on one CD on the Bombworks Records label.

I’m going to take a moment, here, and make mention that, at the time of this writing, Roxx Records is getting set to release a remaster version of this compilation, with new artwork, a never before released song from 2004, and a bonus DVD featuring a live show from the band back in the day. I do this because I want to urge you all to get in on the re-release from Roxx of this album. Not only because this Bombworks edition was only limited to 300 copies, but Roxx has been fantastic with the remastering and re=releasing of several long out of print classics. And no, I’m not on their payroll. I’m just a satisfied customer, is all. Anyway…

Concerning the music that Consecrator put out, after the initial listen to this collection, I stand in awe at the fact that these guys never managed to get signed to any of the labels back in the day. I mean, this is some rather great thrash metal, here, worthy of inclusion on R. E. X. Records roster of thrash metal bands at least. This is some blistering thrash metal, here, chock full of hooky riffs and finger-melting solos and solid rhythms to give you the biggest bangover of your life. Of the two demos that are included on this release, Image Of Deception is the better quality over Demo from 1990, from a production quality perspective. I don’t know if they only had a worn cassette copy of the first demo, but there were some parts that were almost unlistenable. Which is the pity, because the metal on both is epic thrash and metal played very well, very tight and very, very ferocious. This is the primary reason I mentioned the Roxx Records re-release. Because I am of the opinion that everyone should check out Consecrator’s work, and in the best possible quality available.

Will I be purchasing the re-release when it comes out? Boy howdy. In the meantime, though, this copy of of the Image Of Deception compilation will get further plays until then.

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